Terroir Al Limit Les Tosses 2017
Les Tosses is a steep, 90-year-old vineyard of head-pruned Carinyena on llicorella soil that Dominik Huber discovered while riding his motorbike on the twisting and mountainous dirt roads around Torroja. While many growers in the Priorat preferred Garnatxa or were planting Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, Dominik saw the potential for pure, old-vine, Carinyena. Inspired by the Burgundian concept of terroir, Les Tosses’ minuscule yields are not blended with any other variety or Carinyena from other sites. It is harvested by hand, with whole cluster native fermentations, infused rather than extracted, with only two weeks on the skins before pressing. It finishes fermentation and malo in a Stockinger foudre (50%) and a concrete tank (50%).
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Tiny and entirely composed of craggy, jagged and deeply terraced vineyards, Priorat is a Catalan wine-producing region that was virtually abandoned until the early 1990s. This Spanish wine's renaissance came with the arrival of one man, René Barbier, who recognized the region’s forgotten potential. He banded with five friends to create five “Clos” in the village of Gratallops. Their aim was to revive some of Priorat’s ancient Carignan vines, as well as plant new—mainly French—varieties. These winemakers were technically skilled, well-trained and locally inspired; not surprisingly their results were a far cry from the few rustic and overly fermented wines already produced.
This movement escalated Priorat’s popularity for a few reasons. Its new wines were modern and made with well-recognized varieties, namely old Carignan and Grenache blended with Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. When the demand arrived, scarcity commanded higher prices and as the region discovered its new acclaim, investors came running from near and far. Within ten years, the area under vine practically doubled.
Priorat’s steep slopes of licorella (brown and black slate) and quartzite soils, protection from the cold winds of the Siera de Monstant and a lack of water, leading to incredibly low vine yields, all work together to make the region’s wines unique. While similar blends could and are produced elsewhere, the mineral essence and unprecedented concentration of a Priorat wine is unmistakable.
Responsible for some of the most stunning old vine red wine on the planet, Carignan has an amazing capacity to survive dry, arid climates and still produce lovely, mouthwatering wine. In Spain it goes by the name of Mazuelo or Cariñena and while it may have originated there in the province of Aragón, its popularity lies elsewhere, particularly in Languedoc-Roussillon. Somm Secret—Historically Carignan did not enjoy the respect that it does today. In the mid 20th century, Carignan covered nearly 140,000 ha in Algeria, where it was made into low quality bulk and blending wine to supply mass-market demand.